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Mouthpieces Guardala/Lawton Hybrid

Fraser Jarvis

Well-Known Member
I recently bought a Guardala MB11 of s.o.t.w. although the piece plays very much to my liking the ligature arrangement wasent!!

I have always found the Lawton ligature to be an absolute brilliant piece of engineering that holds the reed perfectly.

So i had a brain wave, why not get some rails cut and use the Lawton lig? so i did...had the work done this morning and am very happy indeed, the plating dident even flake from around the rails either!!

Now i'm seriously thinking of having my Floridated link done as well:shocked:


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That looks just the business.

Not all mouthpieces would have the correct dimensions and materials to make this work, but I've got a Pillinger copy of a Lawton tenor piece and it has rails that work beautifully with my Lawton lig.

I have three Lawton soprano pieces and the sizing of the rails (distance apart and groove size) are all different so the ligs are not interchangeable (either don't fit on or they just slide off).

Were you there when the rails were machined in and can you describe what was done to hold the mouthpiece in place during machining, so that it didn't get damaged ?

And if you will excuse my nosiness, what did you pay to get the machining done ?

Rhys (confirmed fan of Lawtons and their ligatures).
Hi Rhys,
Yes i waited with the guy while he machined them, i told him i couldent stress how important it was that he did not go through the side and that the table, rails (which are ultra narrow on this) and tip must be protected at all costs!

First he cut some hard'ish strips of plastic roughly the same length and width as the piece, he then sandwiched it between these two pieces of plastic, one on the table and one on the top, this was then firmly clamped in the machine vice, the machine was an incredible thing as well by the way, after the dimensions were taken from the Lawton and the Guardala was clamped in the machine the actual cutting head was fitted with what looked like a three inch nail, this was some kind of signal device that mapped out the mouthpiece and were the cut's were going to be made, after it did this he replaced this thing with the cutter, closed the doors, asked me if i wanted a cup of tea, and the rest as they say is history.

And the cost, £30, B.T.W. he said he could make 10 exact coppies, both internaly and externaly for £100 each.
Thanks for that - interesting to me as an engineer, although it's a long time since I used a mill. I suppose that Lawton himself would have had all the jigs necessary to hold and position his various size and model mouthpieces. In these days of computerised machines, the actual machining operations are very much quicker than the setting up.

One of the things I like about the Lawton lig is that it gives you something secure to grab hold of for moving the mouthpiece on the neck, without the ligature or reed shifting position.

When I had one of my Lawton alto pieces refaced, the table was taken down a little bit and so the grooves got a bit closer to the table. The effect of this is that the ligature has to be screwed down a bit further to hold the reed and this is now on the limit of the thread travel and it can get locked. Getting the dimensions exactly right is pretty important.

I have a great piece, made for my by Lawrie Waldron of LAW mouthpieces, that is a copy of my favourite Lawton, except for the lack of ligature grooves. It would be really good to have the grooves machined in, and £30 sounds reasonable value.

As for the exact copies that your guy says he could make, £100 sounds good value, but I would think of them as blanks rather than finished pieces. People who don't really know about mouthpieces don't appreciate the really fine tolerances needed but a mouthpiece tech could probably do something with them for another £100. They would need plating after that as well.

Thanks for all the information

What was wrong with the original ligature? I think I use a Rovner on mine - which works fine.

When I had one of these I used a Rovner as well, and you're right, it did indeed work well. What didn't was the one originally supplied with the mouthpiece - it was utter crap, and particularly awful considering the cost of the mouthpiece.
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